English

The English Department is an innovative, passionate and highly-motivated department that strives to ensure all pupils achieve their potential. The Head of Department, Dr.Luanda Stannard, is supported by a team of six dedicated English teachers. There are six teaching classrooms which all have Touch Screen technology.  Classrooms contain vibrant displays to assist pupils’ learning as well as showcase their excellent written pieces. Activities in lessons cover a range of reading, writing and spoken language tasks, from group work to individual presentations. We aim to encourage active, curious and independent learners.

The department ensures close liaison with the Learning Support and E.A.L departments and also works closely with Margaret Williams, the school librarian, to promote the importance of reading. We see reading as crucial to success at all levels and encourage pupils to carry reading books at all times. Pupils are given access to the school computer suites and department laptops on a regular basis to support their learning and understanding.

A number of students who pursue the subject at A Level go on to read an English related degree at university. A Level students have the opportunity to access E-Magazine and Connell guides to broaden their subject knowledge. Overall, the department aims to ensure that all pupils become effective communicators who are in full control of the language they use, and to foster a love and appreciation of Literature.

 Academic Programme

Throughout Key Stage 3 pupils explore a range of writing styles through the study of novels, plays, poetry and non-fiction texts. Pupils are required to complete a variety of writing tasks working towards honing the skills at G. C. S. E. These include: imaginative writing, analytical essays, poetry and transactional writing. The teaching of spelling and grammar is integral throughout as there is a strong focus on these skills at G.C.S.E. All pupils follow a programme of study to improve their spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Spoken Language tasks are also very important. Public speaking competitions, group debating, discussions and presentations will feature in every year, and formal assessments completed by teachers. A variety of drama techniques are included to enhance understanding and enjoyment of texts, especially during the study of Shakespeare’s plays.

In Year 7, pupils study autobiographical writing and explore a rich selection of texts before embarking on their own creative writing. Poetry is also studied and pupils are given the opportunity to become familiar with famous figures in literary history including Shakespeare. In Year 8, pupils are placed in ability sets where they will study non-fiction and transactional writing as well as Romeo and Juliet; poetry and literary heritage texts are also included. In all year groups pupils are given opportunities to develop their reading skills, particularly through their Library lessons. During Key Stage 4, in years 9, 10 and 11, pupils are also placed in ability groups for both G.C.S.E. Language and Literature. There are classes dedicated to the study of G.C.S.E. English Language alone which ensures that pupils are able to optimize their potential in this crucial subject. Pupils work towards terminal examinations and spoken language tasks, all of which are supported by a range of teaching styles and strategies. Pupils are encouraged to explore a range of genres and develop their own opinions about a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts. Essay writing skills are developed to encourage technical precision and mature and perceptive analysis. Spoken Language is recorded as a discrete grade on the G.C.S.E. certificate. The department follows the Edexcel English Language and Literature G.C.S.E. specifications.

Key Stage 5 groups are smaller and encourage pupils to confidently share their views about the range of texts studied. The emphasis is on independent thought and the further development of sophisticated and analytical essay techniques. The course is linear and is assessed by terminal examinations. Pupils study a varied range of texts from different historical eras as well as genres. The coursework module encourages pupils to work independently on their own areas of interest with support from their teachers. The department follows the Edexcel English Literature Advanced Level specification.

Extra-Curricular Activities

The English Department offers a variety of activities across the key stages. We aim to offer a challenging and stimulating programme that caters for all interests and abilities.  Among the wealth of activities on offer are:

  • House Competitions across all Key Stages, including public speaking, poetry writing, independent projects and external writing and speaking competitions.
  • Lunchtime clubs which range from Debating ClubJunior Book Club, Staff and Sixth Form Book Club and the Carnegie Award Shadowing Group.

Furthermore, trips and visits are run throughout the year. Theatre trips have included:

* The Revenger’s Tragedy at Nottingham Playhouse
* Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the RST, Stratford
* Marlow’s Dr Faustus at the RST, Stratford
* Dahl’s The Witches at The Curve, Leicester
* Various workshops run by The Young Shakespeare Company at Ratcliffe College

Staff

Dr L Stannard, Head of Department, LStannard@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk
Mr M Benjamin, Teacher of English and Head of Public Speaking and Debate MBenjamin@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk
Miss V Hobbs, Teacher of English and KS4 Co-ordinator, VHobbs@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk
Miss A McKenna, Teacher of English and KS3 Co-ordinator, AMcKenna@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk
Ms J Davis, Assistant Head Academic and Teacher of English, JDavis@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk
Mrs M Reeves, Teacher of English and EAL Co-ordinator, MReeves@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk
Mrs L Whieldon, (Part Time) Teacher of English, LWhieldon@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk